real life experience

consent, mine and other’s

I remember one night out in my teens an acquaintance a few years older than me put his hands down the back of my pants without warning, I calmly stood up and walked away without saying anything to anyone. He never bothered me again, mostly because I avoided him as much as I could. Perhaps you may think of this as a minor incident but for a teen who had had no previous sexual experience this was quite shocking and yet somehow I was calm as a cucumber.

I wasn’t so indecisive then with sexual contact as I am today, would I walk away today? Yes, I don’t suffer fools lightly, I’d perhaps wouldn’t be afraid to ask him why he felt entitled to invade my personal space.

It was a passing comment by my brother on my last visit that made me think about this event. He said ‘…and then we wonder why girls get harassed’ he was referring to tight shorts that are currently in fashion. I felt a rush of anger flush my face, I tried to keep calm and explain that even if the girls walked around stark naked it wouldn’t be acceptable to harass them. The style of one’s clothing is not an automatic stamp of consent to be used as a sexual object.

How many times had I been pestered for sex by a partner because of what I was wearing or not wearing when I hadn’t felt like it and given in? Would I still do it today? NO.

Somewhere along the line I learned what consent really meant, that there was no guilt, shame or retribution big enough that would make me say yes when I meant no.

So why all this recent indecisiveness? I realised that I was making decisions for the other party – is this what’s best of him? This is self deprecation at its worse – the “you deserve better” type of thought completely wiping out even the remote possibility that the other may have an independent view on this decision. I realised this is not only self destructive but also extremely disrespectful and I would not like to be treated like a non-thinking individual and therefore I should stop the behavior straight away. I should instead respect the other’s decision for what it is rather than anticipating it or worse still imposing it on him.

Perhaps this post is a little off topic for this blog as it isn’t much related to the little in me and more the insecure adult that I’m trying to gently coax back into it’s beautiful shape.

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